Housing is a very important part of the “higher education” process. It must suit your personality and lifestyle in order for you to succeed. There are a variety of both on-campus and off-campus housing options available for international students. We will explore the housing rental market, since most international students will be most interested in that category:
The most popular form of on-campus housing is the dormitory. Dormitories (dorms) are basically rooms that students live in. Similar to apartment buildings, the rooms are located in large complexes commonly known as ‘Student Housing’. Picture a large army barracks or hospital, and you can understand what the exterior looks like.
Depending on the institution, some dorms come equipped with beds for sleeping; it’s the student’s responsibility to supply most everything else. There are both co-op dormitories (both sexes) and single sex dormitories. As for the bathroom facilities, there are usually restrooms and showers on each floor, which the hall residents (students) will share.
Dorms are managed and maintained by the educational institution. The cost for dorm living is typically charged on a per-semester basis, with the costs included in the educational bill.
One drawback to dorm life is the noise level. Sometimes you may will feel like studying in your room and your neighbors are partying. Or, your roommates want to party and you need to sleep. It can often be difficult to find privacy dorm. If this is important to you, then consider getting your own room.
The advantage of dorm living, or course, is the typical college experience that it offers. Need we say more?
Apartments are another popular form of on-campus housing, and provide an alternative to dorm-style digs. Apartment buildings are the typical rooms-in-a-box style, only they are usually privately owned. Each apartment complex varies in what they supply. With this type of housing arrangement, the students are responsible for all costs incurred, either on a weekly or monthly basis.
Yet another type of on-campus housing for international students is renting a room. The houses are owned by private parties (outside of the educational institution) and rented out to students. Rent is paid either daily, weekly, or monthly. This depends on the landlord. The student is usually responsible for the room upkeep.
It starts with your typical apartment. In this case, it will pay to shop around, since many off-campus apartments will give rental specials to students. You can also lower your costs by sharing your apartment with another student.
Duplexes are another option. These living quarters are houses or buildings that have been architecturally split in two, with an apartment on each side. However, some places are built with one apartment downstairs, and the other upstairs. Either way, the landlord is collecting rent on two apartments.
Garages: This is another market to look out for. Many locally operated stores have a room above their garage that is rented out to students. Same goes for houses. Many houses have a room above their garage that is rented out. Even further, some landowners rent out their vacant garages to students. Nice and cheap quarters. This is not a good idea for cold weather, though. (Unless, of course, you have a good space heater.)
In closing, look in the campus paper for the best housing opportunities; the choices are usually plentiful. Be sure to know your budget, and take time to find a place that matches both it and your personality.